Ashtamudi Backwaters, Kollam
Ashtamudi Backwaters offer travellers with an excellent opportunity to watch the beauty of nature at close quarters. This docile backwater stretch is formed by Ashtamudi Lake, the greatest and the biggest fresh water lake of the state. A trip through the lake, enjoying the panorama formed by the swaying coconut trees and vast expanses of palm groves, would prove truly delightful.
The chief attraction of Ashtamudi Backwaters is houseboat cruising- an activity no traveller would want to miss. Tourism Promotion Council of Kollam district offers several houseboat packages that include day trips as well as over night cruises. Travellers can choose from these packages depending on their budget and convenience.
The houseboats are luxuriously equipped with all modern amenities such as fully furnished bed rooms, kitchen, balconies and other entertainment options. Several resorts as well as budget hotels are available around the area and they offer plenty of facilities including spa, ayurvedic massages and sea food dining.
Kollam Beach, also known by the name Mahatma Gandhi Beach, is a scenic stretch of sandy shores. This is one of the most popular leisure spots of Kollam and is located at Kochupilamoodu, 2 km from the heart of Kollam city.
Situated adjacent to the beach is Mahatma Gandhi Park, a favorite location to stroll and relax. The beach and the park attract a good number of travelers for they get to enjoy the picturesque beauty of the sun-kissed shores, palm trees and white sands.
The place is best visited in evenings and offers travelers a rejuvenating experience. The surroundings of the beach are calm and serene making it a perfect holidaying spot. There are plenty of budget hotels and resorts around the area, and the beach is safe for swimming and bathing.
An evening spent at the beach takes away the fatigue of the day and travelers are sure to leave the beach with brimming energy.
Thirumullavaram Beach, located 6 km away from Kollam city, is a beautiful stretch of sandy shores undisturbed by commercial activities. Shallow waters makes it a safe place for swimming and children would find this beach extremely exciting.
It is an ideal spot for family picnics and travellers can spend their time in the beach enjoying the surroundings. The isolated location of the beach provides the visitors, ample opportunities to get away from the madness of cities and the fatigue of daily routines. The beach gets its name from a temple located nearby, the presiding deity of which is Lord Vishnu.
A famous rock, known as Nyarazhcha Para, is another attraction of this beach. The rock is situated in the middle of the ocean, half kilometer from the shore, and could be spotted when water recedes during low tide. Evenings are the best time to enjoy the beauty of the beach and it can be visited any time of the year except the monsoons.
Adventure Park, one of the most visited picnic spots of Kollam, is located 3 km away from the heart of the city and lies on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake. As an ideal location to hang out and indulge in leisurely activities, the park has gained wide popularity among the travellers who visit Kollam.
One of the most favourite activities to be carried out in this location is backwater cruising. Tourism Promotion Council of Kollam district organizes houseboat tours along this backwater belt. Apart from houseboats, travellers can hire other kinds of boats such as luxury boats, speed motor boats and power boats depending on their requirement.
Adventure Park is spread over an area of 48 acres and is situated in the premises of the Government Guest House. The park complex comprises of a children’s traffic park, a boat club and a hotel under the administration of Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. Paramparya Museum, which houses an excellent collection of paintings and mural art, is located close to the park.
Mayyanad is a small yet scenic village situated on the suburbs of Kollam district at a distance of about 10 km from Kollam city. The village is well connected by road and regular bus services are available from both Kollam and Kottayam. This beautiful hamlet is marvelously placed on the shores of Lake Paravur.
Mayyanad has a long stretch of coastal line parallel to the Arabian Sea which is known for its fishing and marine activities. The fame of the region rests primarily on the numerous shrines and temples that add to its cultural significance.
Subramanya Temple at Umayanallor, a temple believed to have been founded by Kaladi Sree Sankaracharya, is one of the prominent religious spots of Mayyanad. Valiyavila Madan Nada is another eminent temple of the region.
Mayyanad occupies a special position in the literary and media history of Kerala as it was the birthplace of Kerala Kaumudi, a widely read Malayalam daily.
Alumkadavu Boat Building Yard is a unique place where travellers can witness for themselves the art of boat building. Alumkadavu, small village situated about 23 km away from the city of Kollam, lies along the backwaters and has gained attention from all over the country for its boat building industry.
Kettuvallam is the specialty of Kerala backwater cruising and is widely used to promote backwater tourism. Though originally designed for cargo purposes, today such boats are equipped with all modern facilities such as bedrooms, balconies, rest areas, kitchen and other entertainment options. The boat builders of this village are known for their skills which are handed over from generation to generation.
It would surprise a visitor that no modern machinery is used by these builders who rely heavily on traditional principles of boat building. It would be a wonderful experience to watch planks of wood getting chiseled and crafted into wonderful vessels.
Neendakara Port is a major seaport and fishing harbour located at a distance of about 8 km from the town of Kollam. The Indo-Norwegian Fisheries Community Project is headquartered here and this place is considered as the spine of fishing and other marine activities of the region.
The project contributed massively to the development of the region, giving great momentum to the port’s fishing activities. The activities under the project include the setting up of a Fishermen Training Institute and the establishment of a boat building yard at Sakthikulangara along with a refrigeration plant.
The fishing port at Neendakara is one of the biggest of the region having the capacity to contain over 500 fishing boats at a time. The area around the port offers an excellent view of the surroundings and from the adjoining bridge, the visitors get to watch the delightful sight of Ashtamudi Lake converging into the vast sea.
Thevally Palace, an extremely popular heritage building and a wonderful piece of architecture, is situated at a distance of about 25 km from Kollam. A houseboat tour through the Ashtamudi Lake will take travellers to this historic building which was once the abode of the King of Travancore.
The palace, constructed during the period of 1811 to 1819 when Gauri Parvathi Bai was ruling this region, served as a place for the Kings to conduct meetings with the British officials.
The architecture of the palace, which is a mixture of British, Dutch and Portuguese styles, attests to the erstwhile glory of the princely reign. The entire structure of the palace, made of lime plaster and laterite, delight the beholders boundlessly.
The palace has an enchanting beauty as it is located on the banks of the lake. The palace premises consist of a temple, the presiding deity of which is Lord Sastha.
Thangassery Beach is a perfect leisure spot located at a distance of about 5 km from Kollam. This sandy beach is a location of historic importance and ruins of an ancient Portuguese Fort can be sighted in the vicinity of the beach.
Travellers come to this picturesque stretch of shores to unwind and relax. The major attraction of the beach is an old lighthouse which has a height of 144 ft.
This lighthouse, which was built in 1902 by the British, is open to visitors (Timings: 15:30 pm to 17:3O pm).Apart from the ruins of the fort, the area has many churches which were constructed during the eighteenth century.
Thangassery Beach attracts visitors with its scenic beauty and historic significance. The beach becomes vibrant during the evenings and the entire area acquires a heavenly charm as the golden rays of the setting sun fall on the sandy shores. The beach is ideal for swimming, casual strolling and water sports.
Rameshwara Temple is one of the most renowned temples of Kollam and is situated about 10 km away from the city centre. The temple draws hundreds of visitors with its splendid architecture and magnificent sculptures.
The entire structure of the building is designed using Pandyan architectural techniques which make the temple a unique piece of artwork. One of the key attractions of the temple is the giant sculptures of a Vyala, a mythological monster. The life-like sculptures of these monsters give the temple a touch of antiquity.
Rameshwara Temple is of interest to the archeologists and historians alike as it contains ancient Tamil inscriptions. These inscriptions are believed to be thousands of years old.
The temple lies on the Kollam-Ayur road and is easily accessible by road. The surroundings of the temple are serene and an air of divinity fills the place making the travellers feel refreshed.
Amritapuri, a religious township and a pilgrim centre located at Vallikavu, is at a distance of about 30 km from Kollam. Vallikavu is a picturesque hamlet populated with fishermen community and is famed as the birthplace of Matha Amrithanandamayi. The place gathered worldwide attention for Matha Amrithanandamayi Ashram is headquartered here.
Matha Amrithanandamayi is a female guru who has millions of followers from across the globe. Houseboat tours are available from Kollam to Amritapuri, during which travellers can enjoy the scenic beauty of backwaters. The place is well connected by road as there are buses available from Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
Named after Matha Amrithanandamayi, Amritapuri is spread over several acres. The township consists of the ashram, many educational institutions and research centres (collectively known as Amritapuri Campus), a charitable hospital, a post office, canteens, bookshops and several other facilities. Visitors are provided with accommodation, and the tranquil ambience of Amritapuri is sure to charm the visitors.
Munroe Island, locally known as Munroe Thuruth, is a collection of eight small islands. Located at a distance of about 27 km from Kollam, this place is accessible by road and the backwaters.
The island takes its names from Colonel John Munroe, British official who was instrumental to the construction of canals and the integration of backwater cruising routes in the region. Today Munroe Island is a much sought-after tourist destination attracting thousands of travellers with its scenic beauty and sightseeing options.
The island has two temples (Mulachanthara Temple and Kalluvila Temple) and an ancient church built in 1878. Palliyam Thuruth of the island draws travellers with its beauty and tranquility. The island is located at the point where Ashtamudi backwaters merge with River Kallada.
It is an ideal place for holidaying and visitors can engage in many activities such as sightseeing, bird-watching and fishing. The place is famous for its coir industry and travellers will get the unique opportunity to watch the coir making process.
Achencoil, a popular pilgrim centre as well as sightseeing destination of Kerala, is situated at a distance of about 60 km from Kollam. The region is best known for its thick forests, temples, and waterfalls.
The most popular pilgrim attraction of the area is the Achencoil Sastha Temple, where the presiding deity Lord Ayyappa. The temple attracts devotees and history lovers alike, for it contains an idol of Lord Sastha which is believed to have been installed prior to the Christian era.
The temple is frequented by people during the Mandala Pooja and Revathi festivals which fall in the months of December-January and January-February, respectively. The flower offering (known as Pushpabhishekam) at this temple makes it a standout among the other temples of South India.
Other popular tourist attractions of the region are Kubhavurutty Waterfalls and Manalar Falls. Situated along the way to Achencoil Sastha temple, these two waterfalls offer a visual treat as well as a resting place to the travellers.
Oachira, a small town that lies on the border of Alappuzha and Kollam districts, is located 55 km away from the heart of Kollam city. Best known as a religious spot and pilgrim centre, the town has a number of ancient temples and historic monuments.
One of the most frequented temples of the region is Oachira Temple, also known as the Para Brahma Temple. The temple is a rare exception to the other temples of Kerala for it is dedicated to Para Brahmam or Ohmkaram.
The temple is spread over a scenic stretch of 36 acres and draws devotees from all over South India. The chief annual festival of the temple is Oachira Kali (held during June-July) which commemorates a battle happened during the ancient times.
The mock sword fight between two groups and the cattle fair conducted as part of the festival attract devotees and travellers alike. Oachira Muslim Masjid is yet another religious spot in the region and is considered as an ancient monument of great historical value.
Sasthamcotta Lake is a scenic fresh water lake that attracts travellers with its beauty and cruising facilities. The name of the lake is taken after a renowned temple situated on its banks, the presiding deity of which is Lord Shasta.
The lake caters to the drinking water facilities of the region of Kollam along with providing fishing facilities. The lake, which is the largest of all the fresh water lakes in Kerala, is classified as a wet land having international importance since the Ramsar Convention held in 2002.
Located at a distance of about 25 km from Kollam city, the lake is accessible by means of the road and ferry. The lake contributes to the fertility of the region’s soil and a major part of the lake has been used for agriculture. The hills that surround the lake add to the scenic beauty of the spot, making it a perfect holidaying spot.